story from the field

Submitted by Jay McCumber, Executive Director, TTWM

 
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An observed theme is emerging that is regionally prophetic in nature.  The collective experience of this theme has been so impactful, it caused me to look back over a bunch of my notes from the last six months or so, and the observation of this theme was confirmed many times. 

Tears.

 In a counseling setting with a young couple in vocational ministry, while speaking about the profound burden she possesses for a move of the Lord not just in her local ministry, but in the Church of our land, she began to cry.  She tried to hold it back and said, “I don’t know why I’m crying.”  The more she tried not to cry, the stronger the tears came.  They could not be stopped.  Hers were intercessory tears for a broken Church trying every conceivable self-help technique outside of brokenness, contrition, and hunger for God.  Pretty soon, her husband and I joined in this experience of grief.  

Working with a couple on some challenges encountered in their marriage, she was sharing her heart and his eyes began to fill with tears.  This was a fairly new experience for him.  He apologized, not wanting to detract from the focus on what his wife was sharing, but he just could not hold them back.  The anger and grief he was feeling was too strong, so the tears flowed.

In another leader development setting, a young man was grieving the hardness of heart he was experiencing in the setting of his family business.  The generations preceding him were stuck in unhealthy patterns of relating and it was affecting the family as a whole.  The conflict in the business even ruined the family Christmas.  As the tears came, so did his embarrassment.  I remembered something Keith once said to Sheri and me as we apologized for tears: “Don’t apologize. Tears are just liquid emotion.”  I told this young leader the same thing and the tears came in a flood.

These are just three out of eleven times (those were just the times I wrote down; there were more), when this process happened:

·         a covenant was offended, damaged, or broken

·         an experience was had of grief or anger, or both

·         an attempt was made to stifle the accompanying tears

·         an apology was offered for the tears

·         permission to cry was given

·         tears, weeping, and sobbing flowed

 

Someone has to cry for the sins of the Church.
Someone has to weep for the assault on marriages.
Someone has to shed tears for the brokenness in families.

All of these noted experiences are based in covenantal relationships, the covenants of which are sourced from the heart of God Himself.  My observation is that the Lord’s heart is breaking for His people and He is communicating His heart for us through grief, often doing so through prophetic crying, often using people who “don’t usually do this sort of thing.” 

This is a very much a Jesus-way-of-being:

 
And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
— Mark 3:5
Jesus wept.
— John 11:35
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’
— Luke 19:41,42
 

Our God is a God of covenant relationships.  Covenant is how He has chosen to deliver, realize, navigate, and expand His Kingdom.  The covenant that is the covenant of Christ is what holds the Church, marriages and families together.  When we humans compromise, offend or transgress the covenants into which we have entered -- covenants that are the covenants of Christ to and in us -- God is grieved.  And clearly, God is a God who cries when He is sad and/or angry.

So if you are or have been experiencing unexplained tears, or new depths of grief or anger in your key covenant relationships (the Church, marriage, family), I would suggest you lean into it.  You have permission to cry gently, weep freely and sob uncontrollably.  God is blessing you with strong identification and experience of His heart.  In essence, He is calling you to a blessing that is a key law in His upside-down Kingdom:

 
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
— Matthew 5:4